Bexleyheath family fundraised money to build specialised wheelchair for toddler after impact one had on daughter’s life
PUBLISHED: 16:42 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 03 May 2017
The wheelchairs are for children under five who have disabilities which affect their ability to walk
A family whose daughter has an electric-powered wheelchair have enabled another family with a disabled child to access one for free after seeing the impact it has had on their lives.
The Wenham family, from Bexleyheath, received a the wheelchair, known as a Wizzybug, through the charity Designability.
The Wizzybug can be used to support children under five with cerebal palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy, all disabilities which affect a child’s ability to walk. It enables them to roam around freely, developing spatial awareness, and social interaction.
Designability rely on donations from the public to be able to continue to loan them to children under five free of charge.
Mia Wenham, aged two, suffered a brain injury at birth, and wasn’t expected to survive. She was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy - a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, epilepsy and other health conditions. Although she is able to roll and sit independently, she isn’t able to walk.
Her mum, Liz, said: “We picked up her Wizzybug wheelchair a few months ago. She absolutely loves it and has made a great start with moving independently. We always knew it would be hard work for her, as she has learning difficulties and can’t communicate.
“Mia has learnt that she can move forward and come to something, instead of us having to bring things to her. Although she does love going in circles as she is very strong in her left arm, and doesn’t really use her right arm much at all. We are working on right turns.
“We never imagined she would have this kind of opportunity at such a young age.”
After seeing the independence the wheelchair has given Mia, her family decided to try and support another child to have the same opportunity by fundraising enough to build another wheelchair to be made available by the Designability loan scheme.
Sebastian Brett, three, from Gloucestershire, is the recipient of the new wheelchair, which will help with his undiagnosed gross motor delay - when children develop at a noticeably slower pace to other children. He can crawl in bunny hop position but is a long way from walking.
His mum, Joanna, said: “We are so grateful to have the wheelchair, Sebby absolutely loves it and I want Mia’s family to know how much joy they have brought to our lives. I’m sure they can relate as they will be experiencing the same joy through Mia.
“This is the first time Sebby has had the independence to go where he wants to, and he’s so happy about it. All the other kids that walk past comment on how cool it is and ask their parents if they can have one.
“We’ve had it a week and he can already control it really well and tells everyone about it.”